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1988 BMW 535iS

While the first-generation M6 and M5 co-existed in the United States market, they did not in Europe. This left the M635CSi to be the equivalent of the M6. But the same was not true of the M535i. That model was sold as a more affordable alternative to the M5; most of the look of the Motorsports model but without the bigger bills associated with the more exotic double-overhead-cam 24-valve M88/3. Instead, you got a 3.4-liter M30 under the hood just like the rest of the E28 .35 models. The recipe was a success, selling around 10,000 examples in several different markets – but never in the U.S.

Instead, the U.S. market received the 535iS model. The iS model was specific to the North American market and gave you the look of the U.S.-bound M5, with deeper front and rear spoilers, M-crafted sport suspension, an M Technic steering wheel, and sport seats. It, too, was quite popular – between 1987 and 1988, just over 6,000 examples sold in the United States alone, and of those, a little more than half were the preferred manual variant. One of the nice aspects of the 535iS was that if you enjoyed colors other than black you were able to order the lesser model in any shade you wanted, unlike the M5.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535iS on eBay

Year: 1988
Model: 535is
VIN: WBADC7405J1718082
Engine: 3.4 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 165,000 mi
Location: Middletown, New York
Price: $24,999 Buy It Now

About this vehicle
This 1988 BMW 535i is an original. The owner has had it for 3 years. The vehicle runs great and is mainly used for weekend drives.
Vehicle Details

1988 BMW 535is – manual 5 speed, runs excellent – no rust – all books and records from new – was in process of changing interior from blue to red – new red door cards installed – many new parts included in sale – George text with any questions

Thank you!

Please note this is a real 535is not 535i EBay doesn’t allow description of a 535is

Today’s car is an Alpine White ’88 that started life with Pacific Blue leather. It’s a great combination, but here unfortunately it’s started to be unwound. It’s not that the car wouldn’t look good with a red interior as well, but I’d probably opt to leave the blue leather in myself. At least it’s just the door cards that have been changed, so it should be reversible – and likely the seat leather is in need of refreshing. The seller claims they’ve got all the records for the car but don’t describe what’s been done; the most notable things that can be picked out are the European-specification headlights – a neat change – and what appear to be E32/34-specification wheels replacing the original TRX units – also not a bad change. It also seems like the suspension is lower than standard and it’s running an aftermarket exhaust system. In all, it looks like a tidy example.

Are these trading for $25,000 today? That was pretty clean M5 money very recently. The short answer, perhaps surprisingly, is yes – in certain cases they are trading for $25,000 or even more. Welcome to the new normal.



  1. Ricky
    Ricky April 27, 2022

    I bought one of these in 2002 in college for $500 at a Salvation Army auction. Sold it for $1500 after driving it a year. Had 241k miles and not as clean as this one, but was blue/ tan and also a manual. How times have changed!

  2. Greg
    Greg April 28, 2022

    These are great cars and were affordable first cars for many. I had a e12 528i as my first car because I couldn’t afford the e28s. These are now classics and are priced as such. And then some. I could see $25k for a time capsule 535is manual but this car is a well used 165k version. I would say $15k tops for this example.

  3. Blair Wershler
    Blair Wershler April 28, 2022

    Agreed it’s over priced. With all those mods, taking it back to stock ish will not be cheap.

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